Leadership and Influence


Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my favorite leadership passage in Scripture.

Speaking of King David, the psalmist Asaph says, “He chose his servant David, and took him from the sheepfold; from tending the nursing ewes he brought him to be the shepherd of his people Jacob, of Israel, his inheritance. With upright heart he tended them, and guided them with skillful hand.” Psalm 78:71–72 NRSV

I want to focus on a few thoughts from these verses for our consideration.

First, as with God’s selection of other leaders in the Bible, there is a clear acknowledgement of that which is God’s responsibility and that which is the leader’s. God “chose” David and “took him from,” and then “he brought him to.”

God often surprises us with His choice of leaders—many times He selects the unexpected and the unlikely to step into this calling. He sees what we often don’t see, like the heart and mind of the person. He then takes them “from” a current place or position and “to” something new that is both challenging and rewarding.

While we often only think of positional leadership in our Western mindset, I believe God has chosen each of us to lead, to influence, and to make a difference in our families, communities, and workplaces. While David was chosen for the specific leadership position of king, we all have been called by God to be salt, light, ambassadors, living epistles, fragrant aromas, disciples, priests, and much more.

Embedded in each of these callings are the joys and responsibilities of influencing and making a difference for Jesus in this world.

I also love the descriptors in this text of David’s responsibilities—to be “his servant,” to “be the shepherd,” to lead and tend with “upright heart,” and to guide with “skillful hand.”

The word “skillful” is used about 42 times in the Old Testament and is often translated “wisdom” or “understanding.” Also, the word “hand” is not the common Hebrew word used to describe the hand, but rather a more specific word which can be translated “palm.” It is most often used to describe the priests turning their hands upward and outward in a prayer or in a blessing.

In these two words alone we see a beautiful picture of the leadership we are all called to live—to wisely guide and care for those around us in a spirit of dependence upon God and as an act of worship to Him. As an example, I often see this wonderfully lived out by mothers and fathers with young children who lead and guide their families with faith, wisdom, and love. They inspire me to become a better leader!

May God stir your hearts as you seek to influence those around you for Him, just as we in Cadence strive to accomplish this in military communities around the world. Thank you for your partnership with us in this endeavor and for your leadership in your families and communities.

David Schroeder